Greeson Appraisal Svc., Inc has answers to "Frequently Asked Questions"

Greeson Appraisal Svc., Inc is always ready to talk to you about any questions you might have about appraisals in Gordon County. Contact us today to talk about how we can help solve your valuation problems.

What is an appraisal?
Describe what an appraiser does
Why would I need a real estate appraisal?
Is an appraisal the same as a home inspection?
Is an appraisal the same as a comparative market analysis(CMA)?
What's in an appraisal report?
Once the assignment has been delivered, what assurance is there that the final number is trustworthy?
How hard is it to become certified?
Who engages the services of appraisers?
Where does an appraiser get the data used to estimate values in Gordon County or other areas?
How can a licensed appraiser help me?
What exactly is PMI and how can I get rid of it?
How do I get ready for the appraiser?
How does an appraiser define "Market Value"?
Once complete, who actually owns the appraisal report?
Which home renovations add the most to the price?



What is an appraisal?   (See list of FAQ's)

The process of performing an appraisal deals with an estimation which leads to an opinion of value. There are three "common approaches to value" which assists the real estate appraiser arrive at this opinion or estimate. The Cost Approach is one of the approaches that real estate appraisers use to find the value of a house; it involves figuring what the improvements would cost minus physical degradation, plus the land value. The Sales Comparison Approach deals with searching for similar properties in close proximity and figuring out the value based on making a comparison of those properties to the home being investigated. Usually, the Sales Comparison Approach is the most definite indicator of market value of a house. The third approach is the Income Approach, which is the most important method in appraising income producing properties - it involves estimating what an investor would pay based on the income produced by the property.

Describe what an appraiser does   (See list of FAQ's)

An appraiser forumlates a professional, unbiased opinion of market value, often in the context of a real estate purchase. Appraisers document their expert conclusions in appraisal reports.


Why would I need a real estate appraisal?   (See list of FAQ's)

There are a lot of reasons to order an appraisal with the usual reason being real estate and mortgage transactions. Other reasons for purchasing an appraisal report include:
  • If you are applying for a loan.
  • To lower your tax burden.
  • To help a homeowner realize if they owe less than 80% of their home's value and remove Primary Mortgage Insurance.
  • To fight high property taxes.
  • To handle an estate.
  • To offer you a negotiating tool when purchasing real estate.
  • To find a reasonable property value when selling real estate.
  • To ensure parties are provided just compensation in eminient domain cases.
  • Because an official agency such as the IRS requires it.
  • It's possible you could have to deal with being in a lawsuit - an appraisal will help.
Click here for a more extensive explanation of the process involved in getting an appraisal.


Is an appraisal the same as a home inspection?   (See list of FAQ's)

Home inspectors do not generate an opinion of value and are not appraisers. The purpose of a home inspection is to evaluate the structure of the house from basement to top. The standard home inspector's report will include an evaluation of the condition of the property's heating system, central air conditioning system (temperature permitting), interior plumbing and electrical systems, the roof, attic, and accessible insulation, walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors, the foundation, basement, and visible structure.

Is an appraisal the same as a comparative market analysis(CMA)?   (See list of FAQ's)

Simply put, it's like comparing sugar and saccharin. The CMA utilizes market trends to create most of their business. Appraisals use comparable sales which are valid resources. The appraisal report will also contain neighborhood and construction values. All a CMA does is generate a "ball park figure." An appraisal delivers a defensible and carefully documented opinion of value.

But the biggest difference is the person doing the report. Real estate agents, who may not have a complete understanding of valuation methods or the entire market, create CMA's. The appraisal is produce by a licensed, certified professional who has made a career out of valuing properties. Further, the appraiser is an independent party, with no vested interest in the property's value, unlike the agent, whose income is tied to the value of the home.

What's in an appraisal report?   (See list of FAQ's)

The main point of an appraisal document is to let the reader know the value of the real estate in question, and depending on the scope of the report, one will customarily see the following:
  • The client and other intended users.
  • The intended use of the appraisal.
  • The appraisal's purpose.
  • The type of value contained and a definition of that value.
  • The effective date of the value opinion.
  • Characteristics of the property that have a bearing on the value, including: location, physical characteristics, legal attributes, economic attributes, the property rights in question, and non-real estate items included in the valuation, such as personal property, permanent equipment installations and even intangible considerations.
  • Any known easements, restrictions, encumbrances, leases, reservations, covenants, contracts, declarations, special assessments, ordinances, and the like.
  • Division of interest, such as fractional interest, physical segment and partial holding.
  • What was involved in the activity of completing the job.
For a more in depth view of all that goes into an appraisal report click here: Sample Appraisal Report


Once the assignment has been delivered, what assurance is there that the final number is trustworthy?   (See list of FAQ's)

In the documentation of an appraisal, each appraiser must ensure the following:
  • The appraisal contained an apropos analysis of the data.

  • That crucial errors of omission or commission were not committed individually or collectively.

  • That appraisal services were provided in a careful and cognizant manner.

  • The final appraisal report was clear, legitimate and conclusive.
To become a state licensed appraiser, we must meet intense education and experience requirements that give us the background to produce an unbiased opinion. Likewise, appraisers must obey a strict industry code of ethics and observe national standards of practice for real estate appraisal. The guidelines for developing an appraisal and reporting its results are guaranteed by enforcement of the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP).


   (See list of FAQ's) Regulations regarding licensing and certification vary from state to state. However, licensing and certification typically translates to many hours of classroom study, tests and real world experience. Once an appraiser is licensed, he or she must then complete continuing education courses so the license stays up to date. To see the specific requirements for any state click here.

Who engages the services of appraisers?   (See list of FAQ's)

Mortgage lenders are an appraiser's most likely client, needing their services to ensure property involved in a mortgage transaction is adequate collateral for a loan. Attorneys and CPAs also retain the services of appraisers for divorce and estate settlements.

Where does an appraiser get the data used to estimate values in Gordon County or other areas?   (See list of FAQ's)

One of the primary activities of an appraiser is to collect data. Data can be described as either Specific or General. Specific data is gathered from the property itself; Location, condition, amenities, size and other specific data are noted by the appraiser during an inspection.

General data is collected from a variety of places. Local Multiple Listing Services (MLS) have data on recently sold homes that might be used as comparables. Tax records and other public documents reveal actual sales prices in a market. Flood zone data is retrieved from FEMA data outlets, such as a la mode's InterFlood service.

And most importantly, the appraiser assembles general data from his or her past experience in doing assignments for other houses in the same market.


How can a licensed appraiser help me?   (See list of FAQ's)

Any time the value of your home or other real property is being used to make a significant financial decision, an appraisal helps. For those selling a home, you'll want to determine a price that gets you the most profit but doesn't leave your home on the market too long; an appraisal can help with that. If you're buying, it makes sure you don't overpay. For parties settling an estate or divorce, an appraisal from Greeson Appraisal Svc., Inc is the best way to ensure assets are divided properly. Simply put, a house is often the single, largest financial asset anybody owns. Without knowing its real value, wise financial decisions are impossible.


What exactly is PMI and how can I get rid of it?   (See list of FAQ's)

PMI stands for Private Mortgage Insurance. PMI protects the lender if a borrower defaults on the loan and the value of the property is less than what the borrower still owes on the loan. Once you can prove the amount you owe on your home is less than 80% of the home's market value, you can make a case to your lender to drop the PMI.

Did you have less than 20% to put down on your mortgage? Contact Greeson Appraisal Svc., Inc today at 706-629-1425. You may be able to save money by removing your Private Mortgage Insurance payment.

How do I get ready for the appraiser?   (See list of FAQ's)

We start with an inspection of the property. During this process, we will come to your home and measure it, determine the layout of the rooms inside, confirm all aspects of the home's general condition, and take several photos of your house for inclusion in the report. The best thing you can do to help is make sure the appraiser has easy access to the exterior of the house . Trim any shrubs and relocate any items that would make it difficult to measure the structure. On the inside, make sure we can get to appliances like furnaces and water heaters.

You can make our visit go faster and improve the accuracy of the appraisal report by having the following things on hand:
  • Written property agreements, such as a maintenance agreement for a shared driveway.
  • A list of any personal property that will be left behind and sold with the home, such as an oven, or a washer and dryer, if applicable.
  • Information on "Homeowners Associations" or condominium covenants and fees.
  • A copy of the current listing agreement and broker's data sheet and Purchase Agreement if a sale is "pending".
  • A list of "proposed" improvements when the property is being appraised "as complete".

How does an appraiser define "Market Value"?   (See list of FAQ's)

In real estate appraising, Market Value is commonly defined as:

"The most probable price (in terms of money) which a property should bring in a competitive and open market under all conditions requisite to a fair sale, the buyer and seller each acting prudently and knowledgeably, and assuming the price is not affected by undue stimulus. Implicit in this definition is the consummation of a sale as of a specified date and the passing of title from seller to buyer under conditions whereby: the buyer and seller are typically motivated; both parties are well informed or well advised, and acting in what they consider their best interests; a reasonable time is allowed for exposure in the open market; payment is made in terms of cash in United States dollars or in terms of financial arrangements comparable thereto; and the price represents the normal consideration for the property sold unaffected by special or creative financing or sales concessions granted by anyone associated with the sale."



Once complete, who actually owns the appraisal report?   (See list of FAQ's)

For mortgage transactions, the lender requests the appraisal, either directly or through a third party. Even though it's the buyer that eventually pays for the report, the lender is the intended user. The buyer is entitled to a copy of the report - it's usually bundled with all the other closing documents - but is not entitled to use the report for any other purpose without permission from the lender.

It's different when it's the homeowner hiring the appraiser for things outside securing a mortgage. In these cases, the appraiser may stipulate how the appraisal can be used; for PMI removal, or estate planning or tax challenges, for example. If not noted otherwise, the home owner can use the appraisal for any purpose.


Which home renovations add the most to the price?   (See list of FAQ's)

A home's location - what city it is in and even what part of that city - is key to this popular question. For example, if you're in a neigborhood of small to medium priced homes, a media room may not be something people in that price range want

No matter where you go, however, renovating a kitchen is almost always a safe investment. According to one national survey, kitchen remodels returned an average of 88% of the investment. In other words, a $10,000 kitchen remodeling project would add approximately $8,800 to the value of the home. Bathrooms weren't far behind, yielding 85%. Adding bedrooms and baths can also increase the value of your home (when done well) as long as your home doesn't then become an oddball for your neighborhood in terms of size.